High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition that affects tens of millions of people worldwide. It puts you at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Making lifestyle changes like eating healthier and exercising more can help lower blood pressure. Some proponents claim drinking celery juice can also help reduce high blood pressure, but does it really work?
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries. It consists of two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure – the pressure when the heart beats
- Diastolic blood pressure – the pressure when the heart rests between beats
Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure ranges include:
- Elevated: 120-129/less than 80
- Stage 1 hypertension: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2 hypertension: 140/90 or higher
Over time, the force of high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and cause them to harden and narrow. This can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, vision loss, and cognitive decline.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
There are two main types of high blood pressure:
- Primary (essential) hypertension – develops gradually over many years. The underlying cause is often unclear, but risk factors include age, family history, race, obesity, salt intake, alcohol use, and more.
- Secondary hypertension – caused by an underlying medical condition like kidney disease, hormonal disorders, tumors, certain medications, illegal drugs, and more.
Regardless of the type, uncontrolled high blood pressure can seriously damage your health. Lifestyle changes and medication are often needed to reduce blood pressure to safer levels.
Benefits of Celery Juice
Drinking vegetable juices like celery juice has become a popular health trend in recent years. Celery juice contains beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds, including:
- Vitamin K – helps blood clot properly
- Vitamin C – powerful antioxidant
- Potassium – regulates fluid balance
- Folate – important for cell growth
- Flavonoids – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
There is some evidence that celery juice may help:
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower cholesterol
- Prevent disease-causing free radical damage
- Support healthy digestion
However, larger human studies are still needed on the specific health effects of celery juice.
Can Celery Juice Reduce Blood Pressure?
Some advocates claim celery juice significantly lowers high blood pressure. However, there is limited evidence to support this.
Here is a look at the current research on celery juice and blood pressure:
Celery is a good source of potassium, an essential mineral that plays a role in blood pressure regulation. Potassium helps balance sodium levels and relax blood vessel walls. Getting enough potassium can help reduce hypertension.
One study found people with higher potassium intakes had lower blood pressure on average. However, it’s unclear if potassium specifically from celery juice offers added benefits compared to other dietary sources.
Celery contains natural compounds called nitrates that can relax and dilate blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure.
One study had participants drink celery juice daily for one week. They experienced a small but significant average drop in blood pressure of 2-3 mmHg.
However, the effect seems to be modest and may not be significant enough to reduce high blood pressure on its own.
Several animal studies show celery seed extract may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, human research is lacking.
Overall, evidence that celery juice significantly lowers high blood pressure in humans is weak. More rigorous clinical trials are needed.
Risks of Celery Juice
For most people, drinking celery juice occasionally as part of a healthy diet is likely safe. However, there are some risks to consider:
- Salty sodium content – High sodium can worsen blood pressure. Avoid adding extra salt when making celery juice.
- Contamination – Juices made with contaminated celery can cause foodborne illness. Thoroughly wash celery before juicing.
- Pesticides – Celery ranks high on the “Dirty Dozen” list of produce with the most pesticides. Buying organic or thoroughly washing celery before juicing can help.
- Oxalates – Celery contains oxalates that may contribute to kidney stones in some people prone to them.
- Drug interactions – Celery can affect cytochrome P450 enzymes and may interact with certain medications. Talk to your doctor first if you take any prescriptions.
As with any major dietary change, check with your healthcare provider first to make sure celery juicing is right for your situation.
Tips for Lowering High Blood Pressure
Here are some effective, evidence-based ways to lower high blood pressure:
- Lose extra weight
- Eat a healthy diet like the DASH diet
- Reduce sodium intake
- Exercise regularly – aim for 30 minutes per day
- Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day for women, 2 for men
- Stop smoking and vaping
- Try stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing
- Take medications as prescribed
Making lifestyle modifications should be your first-line treatment, but medication is often needed as well. Don’t stop or change medications without your doctor’s guidance.
When to See a Doctor
Consult your doctor if you have:
- Systolic pressure over 140 mmHg
- Diastolic pressure over 90 mmHg
- High blood pressure that persists despite lifestyle changes
- Symptoms like frequent headaches, nosebleeds, pounding heartbeats, shortness of breath, vision changes, or dizziness
Getting high blood pressure under control is crucial to protect your health. Make sure to follow up regularly with your healthcare provider.
The Bottom Line
In theory, the potassium, nitrates, and other compounds in celery juice could help reduce blood pressure. But there is currently limited evidence from human studies that celery juice significantly lowers high blood pressure.
For people with hypertension, lifestyle changes like improving your diet, exercising more, reducing stress, and limiting alcohol remain key. Celery juice may provide some added benefits, but should not replace other more effective methods.
Drinking celery juice is likely safe for most people when consumed in moderation. But check with your doctor first, especially if you take medications or have kidney issues.
Celery juice is not a magic bullet cure for high blood pressure. Focus on making comprehensive lifestyle changes and work with your healthcare provider to keep your blood pressure well-controlled.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much celery juice should you drink per day?
There is no established recommended amount. Many proponents suggest drinking 16 ounces (480 ml) per day. Start with a small amount like 4-8 ounces (120-240 ml) to assess tolerance.
Should you drink celery juice on an empty stomach?
Yes, drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is commonly recommended to maximize potential benefits.
Is juicing better than eating whole celery stalks?
Juicing removes fiber, making nutrients more bioavailable. But eating whole celery still provides benefits. Balance both for optimal health.
What is the best time to drink celery juice?
Most experts recommend drinking celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Wait at least 15 minutes before eating breakfast.
Can you freeze celery juice?
Yes, freezing is a convenient option. Store it in a clearly labeled airtight container for up to 6 months.
The Bottom Line
Research on the effects of celery juice on blood pressure are limited. While celery provides potassium and other beneficial nutrients, there is minimal evidence that celery juice significantly lowers high blood pressure.
It should not replace medically-proven lifestyle changes and medication. Talk to your doctor to develop an effective treatment plan for controlling hypertension.